After a frustrating, difficult spring and summer, we're finally able to start harvesting the crops which survived the drenching rains and saturated soils we experienced in June and July. The first planting of our winter squash, nearly 200 plants in all, nicely hilled up in anticipation of a rainy summer, had to be replanted. But it didn't help -- the squash plants didn't start flowering until August, too late to form fruits. Too wet for the zucchini, too. And the beans and peas.
One refrain we heard from so many people here in New Hampshire and Vermont throughout the summer was how poorly their gardens were faring. Misery loves company, indeed, but we would all be a lot happier with thriving gardens.
We also successfully grew a small corn crop on the ridge field too this year -- flint corn for corn meal and animal feed. We had to plant that twice, too, not because of the rain but because the crows and wild turkeys kept eating the corn seed. The answer was to plant the seeds, immediately lay row covers down, and wait for the corn plants to get 8 inches tall before pulling the covers.
We learned this year that despite all the drainage and ditching we did around the home field, in a wet year that piece of ground is just too wet for crops. Sad, because it once was the old garden field 50+ years ago when this was a working farm, and doubly sad because of all the tilling, manure spreading and rock-picking I did in 2010 and 2011 getting it ready for garden crops. But as our climate here gets wetter, with more drenching downpours, soaking years like this one will be all too common. So we've decided to plant that field to permanent pasture grasses to provide late summer and fall grazing for the goats.
Why so many potatoes? We use them as food for ourselves, the dogs, and the chickens. (On a cold winter day, the hens divebomb a heaping bowl of warm mashed potatoes!) Potatoes are the ultimate "survival" crop, and as this year's challenging weather showed, we can grow them when most everything else is struggling. Not that we're "survivalists" by any means, but with grocery stores relying on just-in-time deliveries of inventory and generally stocking only about three days worth of food, it's a real comfort knowing our root cellar is very well stocked.
Have you hugged a potato today?
New Shelter Challenge Begins
The latest round of the Shelter Challenge is underway and runs until October 13. You can vote every day here. To search for us, type in our name, Rolling Dog Farm, and Lancaster, NH 03584.
They have redesigned the contest site and made other changes. Please note that I cannot help with technical or voting problems. I also do not have an "inside track" to anyone at the Shelter Challenge, and I don't know any more about the contest than anyone else does. So if you find yourself having issues, please consult their FAQ page here and their Rules page, which is a pop-up you can find linked on this page.
Thanks for your votes!